Guest Blogger: Dr. Ulku Clark, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems, Cameron School of Business.
According to a report by Juniper Research, the global cost of cybercrime is estimated to be over $2 trillion by 2019. North American breaches are projected to account for about 60 percent of all data breaches - due primarily to the value of the U.S. assets - but as other countries begin to use more advanced technology, cybercrime will have a much greater global impact.
The growing cost of cybercrime has precipitated an increase in demand for cybersecurity professionals. The field currently lacks a sufficient number of trained professionals, and former Symantec CEO Michael Brown predicts that, globally, there will be a cybersecurity workforce shortage of 1.5 million by 2019. A recent Peninsula Press report found that more than 209,000 U.S. cybersecurity jobs are unfilled.
An Information Systems Audit and Control Association’s (ISACA) “State of Cybersecurity: Implications for 2017” study shows the majority of recruiters report that less than a quarter of cybersecurity applicants have the hands-on experience needed to secure a job. In addition, cybersecurity practitioners’ ability to understand business, communication and teamwork essentials are at a significant gap.
Nationwide, there are several initiatives to alleviate those skill and experience deficits. Universities have started to offer courses and programs designed to train the cybersecurity workforce, and the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education - a consortium of federal agencies, academics and industry professionals - has organized regional and national cyber-defense competitions to provide hands-on experience for students seeking cybersecurity training.
In these competitions, teams of students from various academic institutions build mock networks and seek to detect security breaches from volunteer “hackers,” while simultaneously offering the other essential IT services businesses and organizations require. The spoils of victory go to the team that can balance all the needed functions of an IT division.
UNC-Wilmington and the Cameron School of Business are deeply involved in preparing our students to face the marketplace’s cybersecurity needs. UNCW’s Cyber Defense Club (CDC) has been a great outlet for students with an interest in cybersecurity topics. Members spend about two to five hours per week outside of class time to improve their cyber-defense skills via workshops offered by the club.
They also participate in the competitions mentioned above and were specifically asked to discuss cybersecurity with Michael Piwowar, current acting Chairman of the Security and Exchange Commission, when he visited the Cameron School as a lecture series speaker in 2014.
The faculty in the Information Systems and Computer Science departments at UNCW are also currently working on additional curriculum initiatives in cybersecurity and non-credit professional training possibilities.
On April 10, Cameron School of Business will host the thirteenth annual Wilmington Information Technology eXchange (WITX), which brings together students, faculty, staff and local information technology professionals to share experiences and demonstrate their leading technology endeavors. This year’s event will include a learning eXchange specifically dedicated to cybercrime.
To learn more about WITX or to register, please visit http://csbapp.uncw.edu/witx/.